Spotted Dick

heinz spotted dick spotted dick pudding suet Apr 21, 2014

The Brits have a pudding known as “Spotted Dick.”

I am not making this up.   I would have thought the naughty cylindrical shape and name “Spotted Dick” would be funny enough, but it seems “good things come for those who wait.”    After being known as “Spotted Dick” for almost 200 years, the name was made even funnier when a British hospital put it on their menu as   .  .  wait for this .  .  .  “Spotted Richard.”

Whether too many patients died of laugher or the hospital prudes died of embarrassment is not known.   But the popular suet pudding spotted with raisins is being served up there once again as “Spotted Dick.”

The pudding is sometimes called “Spotted Dog.”   Although there are various stories about its origin, one story holds it was invented in honor of a dalmation named Dick.   That suits the look of black spots on white, but not the naughty cylindrical look.   Dr. Sylvia Onusic  thinks the name came from pudding, pronounced variously as “puddink”, “puddick” and  finally as just plain old “dick.”    Others think it comes from the German word “dicht” which refers to . . . ahem . . .  things thick and swollen.     Could it be that regular puddings are soft but meaty ones like “Yorkshire Pudding” and “Spotted Dick” have some shape and substance?     Dunno, but those Brits do seem to think about more than their stiff upper lips .   .  .

In the UK, Heinz of 57 varieties fame, even sells spotted dick in a can.   Unfortunately, it’s a dog of a product.   Suet, the main ingredient of the traditional pudding, has gone astray, substituted with mongrel mix of wheat flour, partially hydrogenated canola and palm oils, nonfat dry milk and other dubious ingredients are there instead.    That said, NOTHING is going to cur-tail me from buying six cans of it from Amazon as gag gifts.

For eating, I’m set to try a traditional  recipe from a true Brit named Elaine Lemm.   It looks to be reasonably healthy and tasty, and, yes, real suet is healthy.    The brown sugar and white flour are not, but, hey, it’s easy enough to substitute rapadura for brown sugar and possible to soak the white flour first.   Whether or not we go to the extra trouble, this strikes me as a fine treat for a cold winter day.

Here’s her  ingredient list:

  • 115g / 4oz raisins
  • 55g / 2oz currants
  • 75g /3oz dark brown sugar
  • Grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
  • 225g / 8oz self-raising flour plus extra for dusting
  • 115g /4oz shredded suet
  • Pinch of salt
  • 55ml /2 fl oz milk

To see the recipe instructions,  learn more about the traditional recipe and see a video of Elaine Lemm making “Spotted Dick,” visit

But first let me share her grand finale:  “Unwrap immediately, cut into thick slices and serve in warmed bowls with lashings of custard.”

My hearty recommendation is to eat up and enjoy that Spotted Dick.  Don’t dare even think about substituting soy milk or egg beaters in the recipe!    And if you don’t have the “lashings of custard”   —  interesting phrase there!  —   how about a dollop of cream on the tip .  . .   errrr   . .  . top.

To learn more about the history of “Spotted Dick” and other British puddings,

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